It was at “the Rapids”, later to be known as Sarnia, where a group of sixty Petworth settlers first arrived in 1833. Before continuing on to their new tracts of land in Plymouth township, they stayed at a wharf owned by none other than Henry Jones. Jones saw the potential of the rapids early on and he and his neighbours, Malcolm Cameron and Richard Vidal, are considered the founders of Sarnia.
Alexander Mackenzie, second Prime Minister of Canada, arrived in Sarnia in 1846. He was a stonemason, working as a contractor in Sarnia, Chatham, Essex, and Windsor. Mackenzie acted as a bit of a foil for Cameron. Soon, they had each brought their own newspaper to Sarnia to support their views. Mackenzie published a thinly veiled editorial that shed light on Cameron’s rather shady acquisition of Native land. Eventually, Cameron was defeated politically, while Mackenzie went on to become Prime Minister.